David Lawton

Outside of Providence


My heart is a regional train yard

Sleepy, open to the elements and simmering


Train yard where I saw my first graffiti

Cryptic directions on a wall calling me to New York City


Region of cable spools, crossties and fast food trash

Short bus rusting in a stinging nettle snare


Heart of blue water oil slick rainbows

Sodden baseball diamond without a tarp


My oh my, when they blow the whistle

Oh my oh, when they sound the horn


Is glory always reinstated.

 

Our Neighbor


Gail lived in the apartment

On the top floor


She always seemed to be around


The German lady said she was a student

For much too long a time


She had a job once as a teacher

But she showed up at school with no shoes on

So they had to send her home


Gail! Gail! Gail! Gail! Gail! Gail! Gail!


The Peruvian super needed access

On behalf of the owners

But Gail sensed a conspiracy

Which kept her on lockdown


Yet when I had a piece of mail of hers

She forced her groaning door a crack

To reveal stacks of boxes and paper sacks

Piled to the ceiling and laid back to back

With barely even the narrowest path

For each step of her uncertain tread


Gail! Gail! Gail! Gail! Gail! Gail! Gail!


Her father called up to her window

While she laid out flat on the floor:


Please come down to see us

For we only want to help you

You can move home to your bedroom

Don’t you know we’ll always love you?...


Gail…


Who brought the swarthy stranger upstairs

Thief of pictures in the hallway

Made her tears rain down the airshaft


Gail…


Who showed up screaming at my doorstep

‘Cause the workmen banged the steampipe


Borrowed money from the German

For some mid-life orthodontics


Sat all night atop the stairwell

Once utilities were shut down


Gail……..Gail……..Gail……..Gail


Wouldn’t accept the eviction


Rolled her suitcase ‘round the corner


Sat in Krispy Kreme with eyes glazed


Grieved she missed the German’s funeral


Laid a blanket in the churchyard


Lost her smile in the nighttime


gail……..gail……..gail……..gail


Your name


And all its meaning


Like an echo


Slowly spreads out


Through the alleys


Of the isle


Of Manhattan.


 

David Lawton is the author of the poetry collection Sharp Blue Stream (Three Rooms Press) and chapbook Inspirative (Moonstone Arts), and serves as an editor for greatweatherforMEDIA. He has work currently in Atticus Review and Maintenant 15, and forthcoming in From The Inside: NYC through the eyes of the poets who live here (Blue Light Press) and Without a Doubt: Poems Illustrating Faith (NYQ Books).